276 Sea Turtles Stranded on Maui in 2020, Primary Threat is Fisheries Interactions

Maui Now

In 2020, the Maui Ocean Center’s Marine Institute responded to 276 green sea turtles that were stranded and in need of help on Maui. The organization’s 2020 Sea Turtle Report showed that 250 were located alive and 243 were treated and released back into the ocean.

The Marine Institute’s Sea Turtle Stranding Response Program reported that stranding causes included: fishery interactions (230), lodged in shoreline rocks (9), stuck in the sand (2), buoyancy disorder (4), shark bite (8), disease (1), boat strike (1), other causes (6), and unknown causes (15).

The greatest amount of stranding incidents, 42, were documented in August, followed by July with 41. The least amount were reported in January and February, in which 11 turtle stranding incidents were reported in each of those months.

The Marine Institute reports that Interactions in nearshore coastal fisheries are a primary threat to sea turtles in the main Hawaiian Islands. Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, 83 percent or 230 of the documented sea turtle stranding events on Maui were a result of interactions with fishing gear.

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